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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 18, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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hiding, and rick perry is still indignant. >> dear yankee, anything you should know about rick perry? >> he really believes in this stuff. >> unstoppable chuck norris-like figure. >> rick perry runs to the right and right away from the facts. >> governor perry is really big on miracles. >> rick perry does things rick perry's way. >> debunked the texas myth about job creation. >> not the high-paying jobs. >> jobs that got moved from one state to another. >> the tea party and the texasen. >> i don't think people in the tea party are going to be going for mitt romney. >> i welcome governor perry. >> rick perry also managed to offend carl rove. >> you know when you know you've gone too far? >> i got in trouble not talking about the federal reserve yesterday. >> you don't accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor. >> cowboy from texas. >> we don't charge people with treason because we disagree with this. >> president obama kind of sort of should figure out if he loves
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america. >> i'll cut him some slack. >> you want a president in love with america. >> and michele bachmann says exactly what michelle obama said about america and no one noticed. >> you have restored in me my faith in america. >> this is a big deal. >> for the first time in my adult life, i am proud of my country. >> it's unbelievable she would have said that. >> she said it twice. >> i'm proud of my country, i don't know about you. >> major controversy. >> i am rick perry, and unlike barack obama, i will [ bleep ] out of america. good evening from new york. i am melissa harris-perry. president obama offered some pretty helpful advice to rick no relation perry. he said this isn't like running for governor, running for
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senator, running for congress, and you've got to be a little more careful about what you say. pretty easy to understand, when you're running for president, you're being recorded, recounted, and fact checked. no statement you make will go unvetted by media and the voters. this morning, rick perry responded to the president. >> you know, yesterday president said i needed to watch what i say. i just want to respond back, if i may, mr. president, actions speak louder than words, and my actions as governor are helping create jobs in this country. the president's actions are killing jobs in this country. >> so let's be clear. the governor claims to be creating jobs in contrast to the president. this, in fact, rick no
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relation's perry's marquee claim to why he should be the republican nominee and ultimately the president. here he is touting his job records today. >> some people dismiss texas' job creation, there have been some on the left that say the fact is those 40% of the jobs created in america since the 9th of june -- excuse me, since june of 2009 was just luck. well, mr. president, america's crisis is not bad luck. it's bad policies from washington, d.c. jobs come by keeping taxes low, by controlling spending, by reforming tort laws and insuring that regulations are fair and predictable. >> now, since mr. no relation perry is running for president and not for governor or say dog catcher, his claim about jobs is being scrutinized by national media and it doesn't quite add up. first, jobs created isn't the same as net jobs creation, the american economy has created more than two million jobs since the recession, but the
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unemployment rate in the country is still over 9%, so let's look at texas' net job creation during the economic down turn. according to u.s. news and world report since 2008, net jobs creation in texas is plus. that's modest net jobs creation, and it makes sense considering the current unemployment rate in texas is 8.2%. slightly lower than the national rate, but in terms of state unemployment, texas ranks 26th in the nation. still, texas has created more than it's lost, and texas has added a net 75,000 jobs since 2008. where did those jobs come from? the private sector in texas shed o 40,000 jobs, but the government added 115,000. presto, net job creation. federal government jobs
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increased 7%. those might be military jobs or nasa jobs in texas. state government jobs increased 8.4% and local government jobs increased another 6%. so it's true, jobs were created in texas, but not through the formula rick perry is pushing. lower taxes did not lead to net job creation in texas. cutting spending did not lead to net job creation in texas. less regulation did not lead to net job creation in texas. what did lead to net job creation in texas, government hiring. remember back in february 2009 when president obama signed the recovery act and how on tax day that year, governor perry made a big show of railing against the stimulus, even saying that texas might want to secede from the
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union at a tea party rally in austin. no, it turns out texas has ultimately accepted about $17 billion in stimulus dollars. including money funding projects this year, so perhaps mr. no relation perry is right and what's been good for jobs in texas would, in fact, be good for jobs nationally, more stimulus. joining me now is texas state representative mark strama, a democrat that represents one of my favorite cities in texas, austin. nice to have you with us tonight. >> hi, melissa, and i want to make it clear, though we bear a passing resemblance, i'm not related to him either. >> very good, neither of us are related to rick perry. you've been in texas politics for a long time and really know this state. are you surprised by the numbers that i just read on government hiring, does that fit with what
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you've seen on the ground in texas and your district? >> i can tell you this, one of the great fears about the economy over the next 24 months in texas is that government layoffs are going to cause our unemployment rate to go up significantly. that's a fear i have about the national economy, but it's an especially acute fear here because of the budget cuts we enacted in this last session and the budget shortfall we continue to face going into the next budget cycle. >> tell me a little bit about that, i know part of the story here is exactly how washington helped to fill that hole so that the rainy day fund didn't have to be touched. can you tell the viewers about why this concern about those cuts is emerging most, you know, voraciously this year. >> we have an incoherent story about this rainy day fund. governor perry will say we didn't touch the rainy day fund. we left $6 billion in the fund while cutting $5 billion from
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public education, a cut that doesn't make any sense at all unless you think for some reason the children of texas are overeducated, but even worse is the fact it's not actually true that we left $6 billion in the rainy day fund because we deliberately underfunded medicaid by $5 billion, knowing we were going to back stop that deficit when we come back into the next legislative session, so it's a cloak and mirrors budget, exactly the kind of thing, frankly, that tea partiers claim they hate, but we were guilty of it over the last six months. >> governor strama, riddle me this, because what i keep hearing is the reason texas has done so well is because of its energy reserves, it has a set of natural resources that buoy its economy and mean texas would not
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have to experience the same sort of downturn, but the data tell me it's government spending and you're telling me it has to do with decisions being made on the legislative level, so how are we to understand what governor perry is or is not doing to leverage those natural resources? >> let's talk about governor perry's claim. he claims that we have great job growth because he's governor. during two of the years i was chairman of the committee on economic development, it was economic development, it was because i was chairman of the committee, but truth is neither the wisdom of our governors nor the brilliance of our legislators over time are what track the ups and downs in the texas economy. over time the single variable that tracks most closely to our economy is the price of oil, and the year governor perry likes to point at, oil reached $146 a barrel. now, $4 a gallon gasoline was brutal on consumers, but $146 barrel of oil was great for the state of texas' economy, so that's clearly a factor. the other thing to point out is
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governor perry's claim is identical to george w. bush's claim, tort reform, low taxes, and lack of regulations is the reason our economy is thriving. there's no evidence that's what's causing our jobs to grow, and the other final point is that we are doing no better than any of the surrounding states, in fact, if you take the point about natural resources driving economic growth, new mexico, oklahoma, and louisiana, the states that border us, all have lower unemployment rates than the state of texas. >> so tell me this on our final question here, most of the rest of the country is just getting to know governor perry, and you've already given the whole country in a few moments a great deal of insight to know what it means to have been in his texas and working with him, what should we know about this governor, what is the bottom line on mr. no relation perry? >> the clips you played at the beginning of the broadcast tells you everything you need to know. this is a guy, when he's put
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under the spotlight, doesn't back up, he's always done that. when he's accused -- and he's still under the investigation of executing an innocent man, he disbanded the forensic science commission trying to find out if it was true or not. that was an audacious move. he's not above saying that the opponent he's running against is responsible for the deaths of police officers because he's operating a sanctuary city. the guy is responsible for audacious politics. these are serious times, that said, for those that are political junkies, it's time to get your popcorn out, he's going to be entertainment to watch. >> max strama, i appreciate it, keep representing them well. >> thank you. >> thanks for joining us. coming up, no jobs, no pekts, no ability to pay back the student loans? and why democrats shouldn't
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be rooting for the weakest republican candidate. that's all just ahead
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coming up, the tale of two michelles and two very similar statements. why one garners criticism, and no one even notices the other. >> plus, why it's so fun to wish for michele bachmann to be the nominee, a weak candidate isn't good for anyone, especially the democrats
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coming out of the weekend in ames, iowa, the republican party emerged with three or four plausible candidates, depending who you asked, there's willard m. romney, michele bachmann, rick perry, and the most debated of the crop, ron paul, but there remains signs that republicans are still searching for a consensus candidate that can really inspire and unite them. the latest to sound the alarm, writing on monday "republicans and independents are desperate to find a candidate who can appeal across the party's factions and revive america's once great private economy. if the current field isn't up to that, perhaps someone still off the field will step in and run. now would be the time." so enter chris christie. earlier today, msnbc analyst jonathan alter lit up the political internet with this tweet.
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breaking, chris christie is conducting focus groups in preparation for a possible run for 2012. reporting later his groups were doing their own focus groups and made them seem semi-authorized by christie, adding it was just wishful thinking. what about paul ryan? as wisconsin congressman paul ryan comes to a final decision about running for president, several top national conservatives are encouraging him to join the race. ryan is expected to decide on the run in the next two weeks. if it's not chris christie, if it's not paul ryan, is there anyone, someone else out there on the right ready to run, ready to enter this race? now, we've seen more than a few polls showing the winning republican seems to be none of the above. but sure, it would be easier for the white house if rick perry or
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michele bachmann top the republican ticket, but there is so far no democratic primary in this election cycle. that means that until the general election in the fall, the internal debates of republican candidates are the political news, what they are talking about is going to be what america is talking about, so rather than debating real issues like how to fix our crumbling infrastructure, how to put americans back to work, or how to afford our social safety net, much of the campaign looks like it's going to involve fights of the existence of climate change, how to most effectively strip women of their reproductive rights, whether to extend marriage equality to gay americans, and in the case of bachmann, light bulbs or in the case of my non-relative, secession from the union. if you're a thinking republican, say a george will or a david frum, this is not what you want from a gop primary, and the fact that even democrats and independents should want an election that produces real debate on things like the economy and unemployment. it might seem easier to claim a victory over a michele bachmann
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and rick perry, but even democrats should want a healthy republican party. after all, we've seen what a sick one is capable of. so joining me now is steve kornacki, news editor for "salon." thank you for being here tonight. >> happy to be here. >> what do you think, i was in new jersey, living in new jersey, when chris christie challenged a sitting governor, challenged john korzine and won part of this straight talking, i can do something that no one else has done in a blue state like new jersey. what are we to make of chris christie as a potential candidate, is this real? >> i don't think it is. the reason it gets attention is because there really is a tremendous opening on the republican side right now, and
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there has been all year, and there's nobody to fill it. the hope of the republican establishment was rick perry's the guy. well, rick perry's the guy who's going to communicate with the republican base, but not in a way that scares off swing voters, obviously, what they've seen in the first four days 1 that may not be the case, i spent time in new jersey. there are a couple of factors really keeping him out, one is family. two is a simple reality that this guy spent ten years of his life trying to be governor of the state, it means something to it and enjoys it and he's in danger of losing it in 2013 and flirting with a presidential race puts it in jeopardy. the odds of him winning a presidential rate is not good enough to make him do that. >> speaking of scaring off swing voters, michele bachmann was talking about the debt ceiling crisis before congress, and insisted that to raise the debt ceiling, congress would be giving the president a blank
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check wouldn't have an amount associated with it, but she repeatedly talks about her days as a federal tax attorney, but it feels to me this might be reasonable conversation should we have, how much should we spend, how much should we cut, but when wrapped in these packages, we don't have a realistic or decent conversation. >> yeah, i was listening to your intro and i agree it would be wonderful to have a republican party to bring these issues out in the open, but the reality of where the republican party is in the obama era, who makes up the republican party today, party bases don't like to have their sacred tenants challenge, but the republican party base of 2011, 2012 demands they be affirmed. so i think we've gotten to the point of the perspective of trying to identify the moderate republican candidate or independent-minded republican candidate is a matter of sort of saying which one is faking it
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the most, and that's basically where mitt romney's reputation is. it's not that he's really saying anything radically different or going to say anything different from michele bachmann, there's a consensus of yeah, he doesn't mean it and isn't that inspiring. >> he's many things, but inspiring doesn't seem to be one of them. is this more than -- generally, if you have an incumbent president, no matter how weak this president is, the strongest challengers tend not to get in the race. it is surprising in a certain way that a ronald reagan emerges or bill clinton emerges when you got a sitting president. is it just that or is there something more insidious going on in terms of the inability to give us a quality challenger?
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>> two things, the clinton example is really worth remembering, if you think back to 1992, now we think of bill clinton as the master politician, i remember when he got the nomination in 1992, every democrat in america thought he was a goner, but the economy was so bad and now we've got bill clinton as we now know him, so i think there's something there keeping them out, but if you're the republican party, you don't have any options. you're sitting near labor where you got economic conditions from a political standpoint should be encouraging everybody and the best you can do is say there's a member of the house, paul ryan and second-year governor of new jersey and sarah palin floating around and that's all you got on the sidelines. they don't have a deep bench, partly because the 2006-2008 elections went so wrong. >> you just scared me to death when you told the clinton story in that way, because this notion of someone who we thought couldn't win, maybe particularly say a southerner with a kind of folksy way all of a sudden is
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able to win in a tough economy makes me that more desirous of a strong candidate on the republican side. >> i look at rick perry and say this guy can't win a general election, then i look at the unemployment rate and look back to 1992 and wouldn't necessarily put money on that. >> steve kornacki, thank you so much for being in studio and joining us tonight. coming up, the idea -- oops, coming up, the idea the tea party is made up of political newbies is shredded by a long-term study, as in people paying attention to who those people were. and why michele bachmann can say something about regaining her faith in her country but michelle obama can't.
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still ahead in this hour, in 2008 michelle obama was criticized for saying for the first time in her dault life she was proud of her country. this last weekend, michele bachmann said the same thing and no one said a peep. and why this country is getting really, really sick of the tea party. that's coming up.
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just before congresswoman and presidential candidate
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michele bachmann won the ames straw poll on saturday, she gave an impassioned speech to attendees. there was one part in particular that struck me. >> as we've been all over this state, what we have seen is the restoration of that dream, and you have restored in me my faith in america. >> okay, that seems pretty reasonable, right? i mean, apparently at some point along the way michele bachmann lost her faith in america. when exactly she lost her faith, we don't know. but for whatever reason, for some period of time michele bachmann did not have faith in our country. i have no problem with michele bachmann's admission, but i must admit to being surprised at the way media and political pundits responded to bachmann's comment. they noticeably had nothing, absolutely nothing to say about it. that's a bit troubling for this reason. do you remember this moment in february 2008 when another michelle made a similar statement? >> hope is making a comeback. it is making a comeback, and let me tell you something, for the
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first time in my adult lifetime, i'm really proud of my country and not just because barack has done well, but because i think people are hungry for change. >> so like michele bachmann, michelle obama had lost her faith or pride in the country for a period of time. faith or pride in the country for a period of time. then after meeting people on the campaign trail, her pride in america was restored. but unlike the case with bachmann, the media and political pundits did not stay silent about michelle obama's statement. >> most americans are proud of their country and don't like to see it run down in any way. >> the statement, bill, was reckless. >> michelle obama is an amazingly fortunate individual, she can be very blunt, it's part of her attractive activeness, but i find it unfitting. >> is barack obama's wife his rock or his bitter half. and cindy mccain, wife of then-candidate john mccain added this. >> i'm proud of my country, i don't know about you, i'm very proud of my country. >> so why the difference in
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treatment? why was michelle obama but not michele bachmann castigated for admitting to having been less than completely proud of her country and having her faith restored by the enthusiasm and effort of americans? i think we need to go back a few years. during his 2008 campaign, candidate obama used the green screen strategy, like television weather persons who stand in front of a green screen back drop so they can appear on screen in front of an array of maps, then obama used his background as a kind of green screen. he encouraged many different
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kinds of americans, black, white, immigrant, male, female, to see him but project their own identities on to his story. it's very different for his wife, michelle obama, michelle had no green screen. her's is a far more familiar black american story rooted in a family that experienced slavery, jim crow, the great migration. as a result, in the early days of campaigning, it was easier for mainstream america, including some conservative black commentators to understand michelle obama using common stereotypes about black women. hence the angry black woman image given to her in this "new yorker" cover after michelle obama found a new-found pride in her country. eventually michelle obama was able to win over a majority of americans with her connection to mothers, military families, even her sense of style. in fact, her 66% favorability
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rating is now higher than that of her husband, which is currently at about 50%, but the tale of the two michelles, michele bachmann and michelle obama reminds us that we are not yet living in any kind of post-racial america. when michele bachmann says she once lost her faith in america, her criticism is seen as an act of patriotism. she wants to improve america, get it back on the right track. when michelle obama criticized her country, it was seen as invalid, because i believe she was not seen by some as truly a legitimate part of the american story. do you remember when you were a kid and you played the game the dozens, among your close certain group of friends, it was okay to tell your momma jokes, but if an outside was there to talk about your mother, those were fighting words. the same can be said about your country, if you're considered fully american, fully a citizen, you are okay to criticize as
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part of your patriotic duty, in fact, being able to express freely criticism of our government, leaders, is a foundation of basic democracy. when michele bachmann does it, we assume she has a right to do it. when we disallowed michelle obama from making that same critique, we were saying you are not really on the team, you are not allowed to talk about my momma. yes, mrs. obama, you're allowed to celebrate being an american, you're allowed to say you're grateful for the opportunities america has afforded you, but you are not allowed to criticize america. i submit this, we will know that we have arrived in a fully equal america when we can all celebrate and criticize our government together. '. yeahhhhhhh.
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america invested in them. where that investment went and what it's leaving behind for the recession generation. and the tea party may not be asked back to the party. has the tea party finally has the tea party finally worn out its welcome among mainstream americans?
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has the tea party finally worn out its welcome among mainstream americans? david campbell and robert putnam write in the new york times today, "the tea party is
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today, "the tea party is increasingly swimming against the tide of public opinion. among most americans, it's brand was becoming toxic, to embrace the tea party carries great political risk for republicans, but perhaps not for the reason you might think." now, these respected authors say that the tea party ranks lower than 23 other groups they asked americans about, including unfairly but widely maligned groups like atheists and muslims. the tea party is increasingly the tea party is increasingly becoming a liability for republicans because what started as a small movement as morphed into another vehicle for social conservatives to inject exclusionary ideas into government. so important to their mythology, looks like the tea party is formed by a group of veteran activists with a very specific political agenda. so while the number of tea party core supporters haven't changed much over the past year from 21% in april 2010 to 20% today, the number of americans who have an unfavorable view of the tea party has jumped dramatically from 18% in 2010 to 40% today.
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the poll also found that 43% of americans, including 40% of self-described independents, think the tea party has too much influence on the republican party. and that is up from 27% just four months ago. joining me now is slate political reporter and msnbc contributor david weigel. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> he told the new york times he wasn't surprised their poll numbers were going down, in fact, he said this is the inevitable price you pay for having an impact. is he right, do you get more done in washington if you don't care whether or not people like you? >> you do, that was mitch mcconnell's strategy, it was a good strategy in terms of winning seats, not so much in terms of stopping democratic bills.
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they might have done more damage to the health care bill had they not been so oppositional, but opposing gets things done, becoming the party of "no" is not a bad thing if you can count on the president's party running on a bad economy. it's totally right, and i think the tea party has acted the right way in power, understanding that when you have influence, you use it, you maximize it. again, the way our system works, a party can say, you know, as john boehner likes to say, they don't control all of congress, all of washington when voters are angry about it. they have a little bit of deniability as they slow things down and stop things. >> i get in trouble with my friends because i have made similar arguments about the, at least the idea of, the tea party. from someone from a civil rights background and generation and family, it's pretty hard for me to be angry about a group that loses an election and therefore takes to the streets instead. that's a pretty harolded part of the american system, but i wonder with this data in the new york times report, looks to me maybe the tea party isn't actually these kind of grassroots activists, these new voices. is there something this data
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tells us that might make me more concerned that the tea party is a different group than it has at one point presented itself to be? >> it was always a group of conservatives and conservative-lining independents who usually vote republican but who aren't happy with republicans over the last year. if you interview lots of tea partiers, as i have, you don't find more any of them who vote democratic. occasionally, they voted for carter and regret it. this was obviously a republican group and social conservative group. it's good they point that out, because one thing the tea party did for republicans in 2009-2010
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is allow them to rebrand themselves as not george bush's party, but a party about economic angst, about, among other things, keeping taxes low and protecting medicare. it wasn't about the issues that these activists, the activists, the base of the movement, really cared about. it was about a very popular brand, and that was what was key here, and look, in power they've gotten, i think, more conservative concessions completely from democrats than the last group of republicans who took over the house. >> so despite this, i hear you saying look, they are doing the no thing, which can be effective for an out party, they rebranded in a way that was necessary after the george w. bush years, but has the tea party's influence peaked when we're looking at these new and growing dispositions of ordinary
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americans relative to the tea party, is this the end of tea party influence? >> well, you know, movements can be defined in two ways if we're being really narrow about it. they can be bees where they sting and the sting goes in and they die or they can be wasps and keep stinging. it looks as though the tea party is more like most movements, a bee that stings and can't -- doesn't have quite the same effect again, but that sting was very influential. the republican party stands for things now that it didn't stand for two years ago. nowhere is that more exemplified than rick perry and george bush. rick perry represents s s anti-government populism. i think that's a movement that's succeeded if you look at that. >> i love that image of a bee sting that takes away the compassionate part of conservatism conservatism. dave weigel of, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, the recession generation and why everyone should worry about them programs. you made the point with texas
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and the jobs creation there, those are public jobs, we had
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vision lack for us in this moment? >> i think it's broader than just the president. i think it's a democratic party issue as well. the '50s and '60s, so it's both a lack of will in terms of both parties as well as lack of
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vision, but i will say young people do have a vision. i was just in hyde park, new york, this weekend talking to 200 student leaders as part of the roosevelt institute campus network. 10,000 students across the country, they have ideas, they have policy programs that they'd like to implement, so the ideas and vision are there for this recession generation, but their voices aren't being heard in the same way. >> so if we're cutting public sector jobs, if we're cutting union rights to organize, and if we're raising a recession generation, what does that mean for the country? if you had the biggest, broadest vision, what does it look like to you? >> an american nightmare, and not a american dream, simply put. the young people now coming out of college with the highest levels of student debt ever are not being able to get jobs and skills to advance their careers, and this gap in their development, their job development, is going to be with us in 20, 30 years. if we look at the broad economy, we're all going to suffer, not just the young folks today, we're all going to suffer in terms of a decline in terms of
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american prosperity. >> dorian, i think we've officially reached an age we're talking about young people. we used to be the young people, my friend. >> when we were in college, melissa, pell grants paid almost half our college in the '90s, now pell grants barely cover a quarter. we were in college a short time ago. >> it's changed dramatically. dorian warren, thank you so much for coming in and joining me tonight. you can have the last word online at you can follow my tweets @mharrisperry, and a quick plug, my new book is called "sister citizen," now, "the rachel maddow show" is up next. >> best thing about coming home from my vacation was seeing your book on my desk. it was a great present and it's a great read, so thank you for that. and thanks for you at home for joining us this hour. we have breaking news out of the midwest. what appears to be an unexpected result fro